Spaniards at the Prado: A Leisure Culture History, 1819-1939


ACLS Fellowship Program


Foreign Languages and Literatures


Bringing peasants and provincials into the discussion of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century art museums, this project argues that domestic visitors loved the Prado Museum because they experienced it as a continuation of the Prado Promenade, the center of socialization for old and new Madrilenians as well as visitors to Madrid. The Prado, Spain’s most important art institution, was more than a venue for connoisseurs to enjoy the collections of Spanish monarchs. Though founded for this purpose, it became an arena for blending upper-class sensibilities with the leisure practices of the middle and lower classes hailing from Spain’s urban and rural areas. Looking at museum-going as a pastime related to the world of urban fairs, the monograph connects two lines of research that currently do not “talk” to each other: 1) the effects of political and economic modernization on old-regime capitals such as Madrid; and 2) the emergence of modern leisure.